OPENS JUNE 25
Starring Freddie Prince Jr., Saffron Burrows, Matthew Lillard, Tcheky Karyo
Director: Chris Roberts
Screenwriter: Kevin Droney
Details 1hr. 40 mins. Cert. PG USA
Sci-fi computer game conversion pitching humans into a race to same earth from dastardly aliens.
When Mark Hamill-star of the Interactive PC series opon which this is based-won't turn up for the film spinoff, you have to wonder whether the force is with you. As it turns out, this latest sci-fi dustup 'twixt vicious alien horde and a mismatched cadre of doughty human types isn't that bad.
While aboard the freighter of grizzled merchant-man Taggart (Karyo), two newly qualified pilots Christopher Blair (Prince Jr.) and Todd Marshall (Lillard) are seconded to courier crucial information of a kilrathi assault massing against earth, arrive on the Confederation battle cruiser Tiger Claw, and are swiftly drawn into the last ditch vanguard of defiance.
There's a tasty war-feel here- while purportedly 27th century, all craft have an agreeably industrial and functional look and you can almost smell the oily grit in the fighter bay. In fact, the movie's best credentials come from being steeped in history: opening credits fill in a background story of man's pilgrimage across the stars, battle sequences evoke world war II dogfights and (as the badly damaged Tiger Claw hold's it's breath while a patrolling Kilrathi battleship tracks overhead) director Roberts pulls the scene straight from a claustrophobic submarine thriller.
Playing up the military angle is the best move, but this and some excellent incidental effects can't completely cover up the shortcomings , namely Freddie Prince Jr. unable to coop with a ham-laden script, the rather faceless enemy ( removing much of the peril) and what appears to be a spot of butchery in the cutting room.
It's not quite the disaster it might have been- with Karyo being the best thing in it, Lillard being the crazed shtick with reasonable success, and Burrows as sexy squad leader and mostly solid turns from old reliables like David Suchet and Jurgen Prochnow. And its not without potential for the sequel treatment.
3 stars\5 stars
o Chris Roberts makes his directorial debut here, having created the 5 Wing Commander games and helmed much of the footage used therein.
IMAGE CAPTION "Freddie Prince Jr. saying "Have you seen Mark Hamill anywhere?"